(Prepared to go along with a sermon on Matthew 14:13-36)
Have you ever felt that you needed something and you had no idea how you were going to get it or how it would be supplied? I can remember a time, early in our marriage, when I wondered how I was going to provide for my wife and pay off the debt I had entangled myself in. No matter how I ran the numbers, I couldn’t see a way out.
How do we wind up in situations where we feel that our needs aren’t being met? In my case it was a result of some very unwise decisions and I was reaping the consequences of my own choices.
In other cases, we haven’t learned the difference between needs and wants. We think that happiness comes from things, or we become jealous of what someone else has. We think we need what they have instead of learning to be content with what God has already given us. The Apostle Paul expressed it this way, “I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.” (Philippians 4:12 NIV)
There is also another reason we might feel need. Whenever we begin to think that we lack what we need, we should regard the situation like a warning light on the dashboard of our car. The lights are there to make us aware of a particular condition in the car that we should investigate. In the same way, when we feel that we lack something we need, it’s an indication that something in our spiritual life needs looking into.
What is it that we should investigate when we feel that we need something we don’t have? The Apostle Peter writes, “Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.” (2 Peter 1:2-4 NIV)
If I understand this passage correctly, it is through our knowledge of Him and of Christ that God provides us with everything we need for life and godliness. Therefore, if we are lacking something, it means that we don’t know Christ as we ought. We need know Him better. And, as our knowledge of Christ increases, we will find that God will supply our needs.
I saw this work in the situation I mentioned above. Even though God was under no obligation to rescue me from the results of my own stupidity, He did it. I vividly remember how, one night after I’d spent hours going over the situation without finding any solutions, I re-dedicated myself to serving God. Even though I still couldn’t see any light at the end of the tunnel, I went to bed with a peace of mind I hadn’t known for a long time. Then, the miracles started. God pulled things off I couldn’t imagine. As a result of putting Him and the Kingdom first; by striving to know Christ better, God provided everything I needed for life. It almost became a game. Whenever an unexpected bill would come in, I would say, “I wonder how God is going to take care of this one?” As long as I kept trying to keep close to Him and to know Christ better, He always did. It was a living demonstration of God’s promise, “…Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” (Hebrews 13:5 NIV)
Even after all these years it still surprises me sometimes how God supplies needs. I guess it indicates that I still lack the kind of faith I ought to have or that I still need to know Christ better. But when I stop and think about it, why should it surprise me that someone who gave His life for me has my best interests in mind? The Apostle Paul expresses it this way, “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38-39 NIV)
I think this one reason Jesus asked us to remember Him by partaking of the Communion. The bread we eat and the juice we drink remind us of His wonderful love. They remind us that now matter how bleak our situation looks, if we honestly seek to know Him better, He will provide what we need.